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US political leaders, health professionals and others are all increasingly calling for a blanket national stay-at-home order to try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Such a national order, from President Donald Trump, would supplant what has become a patchwork of state-by-state decisions, with most of the nation’s governors issuing such orders for their residents–but many other governors still resisting such orders, even as US reported cases of COVID-19 and deaths continue to mount daily.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is the latest state leader to relent and issue such an order.
There have been more than 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The virus has killed more than 53,000.
In the United States, there have been 245,442 reported cases of COVID-19, with 6,099 deaths, according to the most recent figures.
“The message is this. What are you waiting for? What more evidence do you need? If you think it’s not going to happen to you, there are many proof points all across this country, for that matter, around the rest of the world. Don’t dream of regretting. Lean into the moment, take responsibility and meet it head-on,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). “You’ll never regret overcompensating at the moment so that you’re preparing people for meeting this moment in the responsible way. And there’s no greater intervention, period, full stop.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also looking for a national order.
“I don’t know if you will call it rationale of some of the governors who have not implemented this. Not only is it harmful to their own people, but, again, it contributes to the spread of virus, which is harmful to everyone,” said the California Democrat. “We’re up to 90 percent of the American people sheltering in place or other stay-at-home initiatives. It should be 100 percent. This is a terrible, terrible assault on the lives and the livelihood of the American people, and we’re all in this together.”
CNN host Don Lemon also noted that Trump fails to heed social distancing protocols during the White House coronavirus briefings.
“Over 52,000 people have died and here in the United States we are still not doing what we need to do to fight this deadly virus because of a complete lack of leadership,” he said. “The president, who ignores social distancing night after night during his coronavirus briefings … still won’t issue a nationwide stay-at-home order.”
A national order is the only way to “flatten the curve,” so to speak, in terms of slowing the pandemic, according to former Microsoft chief Bill Gates, who became knowledgeable about infectious disease through the work of the charitable foundation of his and his wife, Melinda.
“Well, there isn’t a choice where you get to say to people don’t pay attention to this epidemic. You know, most people, they have older relatives, you know, they’re worried about getting sick. The idea of a normal economy is not there as a choice. You know, about 80 percent of people are going to change their activities. If you get the other 20 percent to go along with that nationwide, then the disease numbers will flatten, hopefully in the next month, and start to go down, hopefully in the month after that,” Gates said. “Then, when they’ve gone down a lot, then, in a tasteful way, using prioritized testing, you can start to reopen a lot of things, like schools and work. Probably not sports events because the chance of mass spread there is quite large.”
Even an infectious disease expert interviewed on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program concurs with a national stay-at-home order.
“What we need to do now is make a concerted decision. I think it should be made at the national level as to what we are going to do. If we have a haphazard patch quilt of some states do one thing and other states do another, it is very difficult to know where we are going to go,” said Dr. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University. “I think President Trump at this point, he clearly has a mandate to make whatever decisions he thinks are most in the public interest. My feeling is that if we actually do this on a national level, and invested the time, did it thoughtfully, then we would be out of this sooner rather than later?
“If we don’t do that we are going to have the same amount of pain, perhaps even more,” Dr Lipkin said. “I think we could get out of this in a matter of two months, if we focused. We are still not focused.
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